The U.S.-led coalition says an Amnesty International report accusing its forces of violating international law during the fight against Daesh terrorist group in Mosul is "irresponsible." Col. Joe Scrocca, a coalition spokesman, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that "war is not pleasant, and pretending that it should be is foolish and places the lives of civilians and soldiers alike at risk."
Amnesty International said on Tuesday it had identified a pattern of attacks by Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led military coalition backing them in the battle for Mosul that violated international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes.
The rights group said in a report that the Daesh terror group had flagrantly violated that same law by deliberately putting civilians in harm's way to shield their fighters and impede the advance of Iraqi and coalition forces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul on Monday, three years after Daesh seized the city and made it their stronghold. But the victory has left thousands dead and wounded, and the city has been devastated by the fighting since Iraqi forces launched their offensive in October to retake Mosul.
Much of Mosul has been destroyed in grinding street-to-street fighting, thousands of civilians have been killed and nearly a million people fled their homes, according to the United Nations. Amnesty also documented war crimes committed by Daesh, including mass killings, forced displacement and the use of civilians as human shields.
After three years of rights violations during Daesh's control of Mosul, the trauma in the war-torn city persists as the devastation that occurred under the rule of Daesh has left many people homeless.
The United Nations estimates that about 920,000 civilians have fled from their Mosul homes since the Iraqi military started an operation to recapture the city from Daesh's control in October. Nearly 700,000 people become internally displaced and began to live in Iraq's 19 humanitarian camps for internally displaced persons.
Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, fell to the Daesh terrorist group in 2014 when its militants blitzed across much of northwestern Iraq and subsequently declared a caliphate on the territory held by extremists in Iraq and Syria. Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Mosul last October and by late January, the eastern half of the city - which is roughly divided by the Tigris into a western and eastern section - was declared liberated. The push into western Mosul began the following month and in June, Iraqi forces started the weeks-long push through the Old City, Mosul's most congested district.